Tag Archives: Food

Appalachian Plants and PASA

At PASA conference in State College.  Great presentation by Eric Burkhardt of Shaver’s Creek Environmental center about the biology, economics, and possibilities for wild-harvested Appalachian plants.  Lots of plants are harvested will-nilly and with no good oversight or sustainable practices.  For example, golden seal (Hydrastis Canadensis), is used widely as an alternative medicine.  But the people who collect don’t really know when to collect it to maximize the beneficial chemicals.  At the same time, its best use seems to be as a topical antibiotic, but manufacturers don’t sell it that way, necessarily.

Ginseng is a wild, wild market where super-high prices driven by Asian markets lead to rampant theft and a massive over-harvesting in Appalachia.


In a twisted irony, many of the thiefs (who might be able to get $1,000 worth of ginseng in an hour of digging) looking for this root that can improve overall well-being (its an adaptogen) are themselves driven by their won twisted opiate addictions.  And, even when someone is using forest to cultivate wild ginseng catches these malicious though tortured souls, local authorities don’t prosecute it because it’s just a weed or they don’t know what ginseng looks like.  Imagine if a thief took a bushel of apples or a pasture-raised chicken and there were no charges even once you caught them!

Leave a comment

Filed under Biology, Food, Uncategorized

Chefs tackle food waste


Leave a comment

Filed under Food

Burritos, Homogeneity of Bites, Marketing and Capitalism

Also on my FB feed…


Burrito thought. is there some sort of Burrito aesthetic I don’t know about? That dictates the ingredients be like in strata inside the burrito? Because I’d rather have more mixing. Why not put all ingredients in a bowl (at like an eatery), THEN nix them and then into burrito. More bite similarity across the eating experience.

Very Sporkful question.


Comment thread from FB:

(1) Burrito thought. is there some sort of Burrito... - Jordi Sunshine Comas









So, several important  themes are here.

1) Why have no burrito joints created this innovation?  are there costs to bowls and cleaning that make it not viable?

2) If people want it, why have the markets not provided what we want?

3) Are there proper aesthetics or culinary philosophies guiding burrito creation and consumption?


Leave a comment

Filed under Food, humor, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies)

Stoves and Service

Two bits of Bucknell News intersect with some of my interests.

First, the “Service” movement for lack of a better term continues with BU showing up at an interfaith call to service the white house.  I like how food is being incorporated thematically.  We live in an agricultural area.  Plus, wasting less is just good old fashioned American thriftiness.

In contrast, students in a spring 2011 waste audit found that about 850 pounds of food per day were being discarded in Bucknell’s main dining venue, Bostwick Marketplace. Bucknell Dining has addressed the waste issue in part through a composting program and the removal of trays, but, Fujita said, there are more opportunities to help students learn about consumption and waste.

I am not sure how no trays cuts down on waste.  People take less?

I wish there were some legal/organizational way to share unused food.  People usually say they can’t give it away due to safety regulations.  Well, then, is it possible to shield more food from being un-givable?  DO we need to shift attitudes about abundant food spreads?  Or, is it possible to have a way for recipients to agree to take on the risk of food problems in exchange for access to mostly fine food?  A way to have a middleman broker of unused food?
Second, in the general theme of experiential education that links service and this story,  we have BU students working with a local manufacturer to see a super-light-weight stove come to market.  What if this was the norm instead of the exception for our students? I don’t mean they all design objects, but that they all do a project with real world potential value before they graduate.  What would that look like?  Would it produce a generation of hackers, entrepreneurs, and “makers.”


Filed under Hacker ethic, higher education

Risotto Wisdom

The great Nicole, our former nanny and current STELLA service jack-of-all-trades asked me for a recipe for risotto. I thought it was just a few steps, so I started writing. Well, like a risotto, simplicity became complexity.


Risotto wisdom.

I don’t really have a recipe I use.  It is like life, there are just principles to follow.

1)      Right kind of rice (La bomba or other Italian or Spanish short grain rices, arborrio also).

2)      A solid bottom pan that holds heat well is good since you keep adding new ingredients and you don’t want to lose heat.  That is why I used that monster fucking heavy thing always.

3)      Melt oil (butter or olive oil) in pan.  More than you think you need.

4)      Have a drink nearby.  Preferably wine.  Have a sip.

5)      Finely dice some onion or other root veggie to give it earthiness (for example, mushrooms or even celery could work if it were finely diced).

6)      Add rice while cooking over somewhere above medium heat.  Like 5.5-6 on our oven.

7)      Stir rice until it absorbs all the lipids and looks a little translucent.  I think we are getting nuttiness in the rice here.

8)      Start adding some liquids to cook the rice and develop the flavor.  Stocks are pretty key.,  You can experiment.  I kept throwing in carrot juice to make it healthier and give it that wicked color.  But you need something with a full taste like chixn, beef, veggie, or seafood stock.

9)      Throw in some white wine in there at some point.  Maybe 1-2 cups.  Or Sherry, or whiskey.  Play with flavors.  You don’t want to break the bank here.

10)   Keep adding liquid and stirring pretty often.  The recipes act like it is one teaspoon at a time and then stir 40 times.  I never found that necessary.  See 1 and 2 above.

11)   Grate some zippy cheese at some point like reggiano or parmesean.

12)   Keep adding liquid.  You want that thick saucy consistency that comes from the rices starches slowly lending with the liquid.  The whole process takes anywhere form 40-60 minutes.  I can’t remember.

13)   It’s done when the rice is as you like it.  Ever so slightly firm for me.  Some foodies might have some idea of crunch or over cooking.  Whatever.  It is your fucking risotto.

14)   Think about what you want to put on top or in, like roasted veggies, meat, fungi.  Actually, you probably want to do this around #1 or #2.

15)   Throw in some herbs at some point.  I don’t like to overcook herbs, so I wait until towards the end.  Unless it is bay or something that needs lots of time to blend.

16)   Put the cheese in at the end, fold in other ingredients.  Salt and pepper to taste.

17)   Drink some more wine of any quality you can afford.  Enjoy your creation and ponder what other flavors you want to add next time.  At some point you want to do risotto with fungi of some kind.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, humor, Uncategorized, writing